Grant Holt: I’m at Hibs to win the Championship

Grant Holt feels fit and is relishing the challenge at Hibs
Grant Holt feels fit and is relishing the challenge at Hibs
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Hibs striker Grant Holt has insisted he’s arrived in Edinburgh with just one burning ambition – to return the Easter Road club to the Premiership.

The 35-year-old became Neil Lennon’s first signing, the new boss firmly believing the experience of a player who was a team-mate at Nottingham Forest will help bring the goals which will achieve that aim.

And Holt revealed that his time together with the former Northern Ireland midfielder at the City Ground helped persuade him to try his luck in the Ladbrokes Championship.

He said: “Fortunately for me, I know the gaffer well – I’ve kept in touch with him over the years – and when I spoke to him last week he told me what he expected, what he wanted to do with the football club, what he would expect from me and it was exactly what I wanted to hear.

“From that conversation, he said to come up and see the club and the facilities and they are absolutely fantastic.”

While Fraser Fyvie – a team-mate at Wigan Athletic – was another familiar face on arrival, Holt also turned to former Hibs defender Michael Nelson with whom he played for two seasons with Norwich City for a little more insight. He told Hibs TV: “I know enough people to speak to.

“I talked to Michael last week and he gave me a little background. He told me how good a club it was. I spoke to Fraser when he got his move up here and he was absolutely delighted.

“But I know quite a lot about Scottish football. When you are from Carlisle you pick up the Scottish papers, while I know a lot of people that have been here so I know where this club should be.

“I wanted the challenge of getting this club back to where it should be. It should be in the top flight. I’ve come here with the understanding we want to win the league. Everyone sees Hibs in this division as a big scalp and we have to get out of it. Make no bones about it, we are here to win the league.”

A quick look at Holt’s CV highlights the vast experience he will bring to bear in a green-and-white shirt, his playing career ranging from Australia and Singapore as a youngster to becoming a prolific scorer in the English Premiership with Norwich City while Sheffield Wednesday, Blackpool and 
Aston Villa also feature among his former clubs.

He said: “I’ve had a few highlights in my career but the main one would be playing in the Premier League with Norwich, being up there scoring goals. I’ve been very lucky. I’ve had a few clubs but I’ve predominantly done well at most of them. I’ve been lucky with where I have been and the people I have met.

“I’ve played in the lower leagues and every club is different. I’ve played in grounds that hold 300 people and grounds that hold 89,000. They are all as tough. They all come with their own challenges and you have to learn from them.”

Holt spent nine months out of action, requiring cruciate ligament surgery after suffering a serious knee injury while on loan at Huddersfield from Wigan but now, he claims, he feels as good as he has for a long time.

He said: “It’s difficult when you are out for as long to get back fit. I managed to do that but by then Wigan were absolutely flying and they did not need me at the football club. That’s part and parcel of football, you move on.

“I went to Rochdale and hard a great time there but did not play as much as they were doing well.

“But I always felt pre-season was going to be when I would kick on and now I am probably the best I have been for a long time in terms of fitness and strength.”

Meanwhile, former Hibs 
assistant head coach Andy Holden has joined ex-boss Alan Stubbs and John Doolan at Rotherham, the Welshman taking up the post of first team coach at the Championship club.